15.6 C
California
Friday, October 23, 2020

U.S., UK and other countries warn tech firms that encryption creates ‘severe risks’ to public safety

David Goddard | Getty Images News | Getty Images

LONDON — Lawmakers from countries within the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance have warned tech firms that unbreakable encryption technology “creates severe risks to public safety.”

Ministers from the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand published a statement Sunday calling on the tech industry to develop a solution that enabled law enforcement to access tightly encrypted messages.

“We urge industry to address our serious concerns where encryption is applied in a way that wholly precludes any legal access to content,” the statement, which was signed by U.S. Attorney General William Barr and U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel, said.

The statement, published on the website of the U.S. Department of Justice, was also signed by India and Japan, which are not part of the Five Eyes alliance.

Technology companies like Apple and Facebook encrypt user’s communications “end-to-end,” meaning that only users can access their own messages. It applies to written messages, as well as audio and video communications.

While citizens benefit from additional privacy, law enforcement agencies see end-to-end encryption as a barrier to their investigations and have been calling on tech companies to introduce backdoors that would give law enforcement agencies access.

“We call on technology companies to work with governments … on reasonable, technically feasible solutions,” the governments said.

They added that end-to-end encryption poses a “significant challenges to public safety, including to highly vulnerable members of our societies like sexually exploited children.”

Although the nations did concede that some forms of encryption “play a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.”

Ultimately, they said they wanted to develop a solution with the tech firms that enabled users to continue communicating privately and securely, but also allow law enforcement and tech firms to monitor criminal activity.

‘Ghost’ recipients

Last year, a group of companies including Apple, Microsoft and WhatsApp opposed a proposal by British spy agency GCHQ that would enable spooks to access people’s encrypted messages.

Under the proposal, GCHQ suggested adding “ghost” recipients to suspicious message threads that the sender and the receiver would be oblivious to.

In an open letter published last May, tech firms and privacy groups said such a feature would “threaten fundamental human rights.”

Speak Your Mind

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Get in Touch

211FansLike
42FollowersFollow
41FollowersFollow

Recommend for You

Walmart divides Black Friday deals into 3 separate events that kick off online

An employee works on a display ahead of Black Friday at a Walmart store in Chicago, November 20, 2018.Kamil Krzaczynski | ReutersFor shoppers who...

Aerosols vs. droplets: Researchers model the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in various temperatures and relative humidities in typical indoor situations

Winter is on its way. And in this year of coronavirus, with it comes the potential for a second wave of COVID-19. Add in...

Dr. Fauci says his kids aren’t coming home for Thanksgiving as Americans ‘sacrifice’ holiday gatherings to stay safe from coronavirus

Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on the...

Anemic star cluster breaks metal-poor record

In a surprising discovery, astronomers using two Maunakea Observatories -- W. M. Keck Observatory and Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) -- have found a globular star...

Solar-powered system extracts drinkable water from ‘dry’ air: Engineers have made their initial design more practical, efficient, and scalable

Researchers at MIT and elsewhere have significantly boosted the output from a system that can extract drinkable water directly from the air even in...

Related Articles

Qualcomm Quick Charge 5 can charge your smartphone battery...

New Delhi: American chipmaker Qualcomm has unveiled Quick Charge 5, touted to be the...

Orange signals possible reduction of Huawei mobile gear in...

PARIS French telecoms operator Orange may cut its use of Huawei’s mobile...